Food and grocery companies save 124m miles from UK roads

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International food and grocery expert IGD has announced today that 124m HGV miles have been taken off UK roads as part of its Efficient Consumer Response (ECR) UK sustainable distribution initiative.

The initiative has exceeded its four-year target of removing 120m road miles by the end of 2010 a year early – the equivalent of removing 2000 lorries from Britain’s roads – and conserving 60m litres of diesel fuel per year.

Originally spearheaded by companies involved in ECR UK under the auspices of the IGD, the activities have been extended across the industry and now includes 40 of the UK’s leading household retailer and manufacturer brands (see list below).

Engaging in initiatives such as the use of double-deck vehicles and the sharing of lorries to deliver grocery products, these companies are significantly reducing the environmental impact of transporting food and groceries in the UK.

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive, IGD said: “This is an outstanding achievement. Sustainability remains top of the agenda for both the food industry and the Government. This successful initiative demonstrates that even in a highly competitive industry, companies remain committed to minimising environmental impact, meeting consumer demands, and at the same time reducing costs.

“This innovative and efficient way of working could shape the way we transport food and grocery items in the future. “

Chris Tyas, business services & group supply chain director, UK & Ireland, Nestlé said: “One quarter of lorries on our roads are still estimated to be running empty on their way back from delivering goods. This offers huge scope for more companies of all sizes to implement similar activities, potentially saving millions more road miles in the UK.

“ECR UK continues to be the collaborative forum helping companies to secure high performance from its operations. Despite the recessionary environment we have seen companies come together to collaborate and make a real difference to the environment.”

The road miles saved have been generated through a mix of best practice internal projects and external partnerships between retailers and suppliers. IGD has provided the industry with a suite of online resources designed to capture and share best practice across the supply chain. These resources can be found at  HYPERLINK “http://www.igd.com/ecr” www.igd.com/ecr.

Participating companies now include the UK’s largest food and grocery retailers, manufacturers and wholesalers listed below:

Advantage West Midlands, Boots, Asda, British Sugar, Bacardi-Martini, Booker, Brakes, Cadbury, Coca-Cola, Colgate Palmolive, Compass, Dairy Crest, Gerber, Greencore, GSI UK, HJ Heinz, Iceland Foods, Kellogg, Kimberly-Clark, Kraft Foods, L’Oreal, Marks & Spencer, Mars, Molson Coors, Muller Dairy, Musgrave Group, Nestlé, Northern Foods, Palmer & Harvey McLane, Pepsico, Premier Foods, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, Robert Wiseman, Sainsbury’s, Tate & Lyle, Tesco, Co-operative (including Somerfield), Unilever, United Biscuits, Waitrose, Morrisons, Wrigley.